On December 25, representatives of the Damascus government, Russia and the Free Syrian Army (FSA) in the Eastern Qalamun region held a meeting to negotiate the fate of the region. However, no agreement was reached, according to Syrian oppositions actives.
Saaed Saif, spokesman for the US-backed FSA group Ahmad al-Abdo Forces, told the Syrian oppositions news outlet Enab Baladi that the negotiation failed because the Russian side and the Syrian government insisted that a full reconciliation deal should replace the de-escalation agreement reached on September 5.
Moscow and Damascus are looking for a reconciliation deal that would allow to expel Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) from the Eastern Qalamun region and to force the FSA to hand over its weapons to the Syrian Arab Army (SAA), according to pro-government sources.
Similar negotiations between Damascus government, Russia and the FSA in the Eastern Qalamun region were held on October 26. However, just like now the FSA refused to hand over it weapons or even to drive HTS out of the region.
The SAA fulfilled its side of the agreement as it allows aid convoys to enter Eastern Qalamun on a regular basis. Moreover, the SAA eased the civilian movement from and to the region.
Many observers believe that HTS is pressuring the FSA to refuse all the demands of the Damascus government and Russia. This negative behavior could lead to an escalation in the region in the future.